This post was previously published as a comment by M. Jamil Hanifi, Open Anthropology’s new blogger. While we work out bugs with Jamil’s access, I am republishing his comment as a post. It first appeared in connection with the article, “In Afghanistan It’s Now All About the Little Girls“.
M. Jamil Hanifi
15 August 2009
Everything touched by the American imperial stupor turns to dust. This mindless, bloody and brutal machine has reduced to rubble the state of Afghanistan. In violation of every international standard it destroyed the secular state of Iraq and installed in its place a fragmented theocracy. This rogue Zionist-infested fascist state and its rulers are guilty of crimes against humanity. From the onset, the American imperial presence in Afghanistan has been engaged in a culture cleansing project. The imposition of “secular” schools for Afghan girls in Panjsher is the tip of the iceberg in this project. Christian missionaries and Western liberal feminism are lurking in all corners of the so called reconstruction of Afghanistan. Christian missionary activity including the distribution of Bibles in Paxtu and Farsi (distinguished with blue and green covers) by American soldiers has been documented. Most of the nearly 4500 NGOs in Afghanistan have direct or indirect connections to Christian agendas for Muslim Afghanistan. Virtually all of these NGOs receive subsidies, in one form or another, from the American and other Western governments and are sheltered by the American and NATO military umbrellas. The “Clash of Civilizations” is the foundational premise of the Western presence in poor and helpless sub-industrial Afghanistan. The HTS teams are the American frontline scouts in this brutal and destructive scandal. The program is a crude, simple-minded, and counterproductive attempt at imposing colonial culture with the tips of bayonets and military boots on the people of Afghanistan through the “C3”, comparative cultural competence, buzzwords in the so called “military anthropology”, and staffed with incompetent and clueless but expensive (annual salaries of 300-400K) “social scientists” and interpreters (“terps”) from the poverty stricken Afghan diaspora in the United States. Blind leading the blind!
From the start radical feminism and the American occupation of Afghanistan have manipulated each other for the promotion of their respective agendas in Afghanistan. During February 2005, while speaking in public, the US Marine General James Mattis who commanded troops in Afghanistan stated that “it is fun to shoot some people….Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know , it’s a hell of a hoot….I like brawling…You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil…You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of lot of fun to shoot them” (firstname.lastname@example.org February 3, 2005). The general was merely “counseled” by the Pentagon for this obscene backwater display of patriarchal feminism. This writer retorted: “Abusing human beings is reprehensible. But this is fascist vulgar rhetoric and for Mattis to speak about women’s rights anywhere is a profound hypocrisy. In no other country are women so abused , exploited, demeaned and vulgarized as in the country he pretend to defend” (Lansing State Journal, February 14, 2005).
Now comes the Dakota educated, Big Sky Country settler cowboy and mountaineer Greg Mortenson on the shoulders of the “warrior chief”, U. S. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff, fighting the phony “war on terrorism” with opening a “secular” school for young Afghan girls in the Panjshaer valley. Mullen has armored himself for this occasion by reading “The Book Seller of Kabul” by Asne Seierstad who has been sued in a Scandinavian court by her chief Kabuli informant for publishing lies about women’s lives in Afghanistan. The report of this militarized feminist scam is produced by a Zionist mouthpiece and tutor of the imperial presence, Thomas L. Friedman who thinks “Urdu” is the local language as if the cultural content of Dari speaking Panjshaer valley is interchangeable with the cultures of India, Pakistan, and Nepal where Urdu is a universal language. Imperial hubris thrives on essentializing the dominated. Afghanistan is simply another footprint.
Cowboy Mortenson is the co-author of “Three Cups of Tea”, a story about mountain climbing in northern Pakistan and his rescue by Balti villagers whom he reciprocates by destroying their way of life through building “secular” schools for their little girls. He drifts into Afghanistan with this deconstructive project by opening 48 secular schools—one and one half school in every Afghan province. Faithful to a vulgarized understanding of secularity Mortenson expects these innocent little girls to have “fewer children” when they grow up. Of course, this design will require classes in sex education and family planning with free contraceptives in the Panjshaeri school curriculum. Everything will be modern, industrial and “up to date” in Panjshaer including young women in high heeled seductive shoes, make-up, contraceptives, abortion clinics, and bikini clad sunbathing teenage Panjshaeri girls on the banks of the Panjshaer River. I am sure Mortenson has plans for shelters all over Afghanistan for abused Afghan women just as in Butte, Lansing, Little Rock, Cedar Rapids, Mobile, Phoenix, and all over Eastern Pennsylvania. And he will look the other way when these Afghan girls end up as the abused, exploited, demeaned, and vulgarized subjects of pornography produced in Rokha, Charikar, and Kabul. Far more importantly, mountaineer Mortenson hopes to reverse the conventional old to young human process of cultural reproduction. Mortenson’s Montana zeal will create an Afghan world in which “the girls will bring home meat and veggies, wrapped in newspapers and the mother will ask the girl to read the newspaper to her and the mother will learn about politics and about women who are exploited”. His model will culture to flow from young to old, bottoms up, so to speak, whichin practical terms will terminate the culture of present day Afghan mothers and grandmothers. He will replace the cultural construction of women, femininity, and womanhood in Afghanistan with the nightmares of radical NOW and Eleanor Roosevelt, the original chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission.
I wonder whether Greg Mortenson, Admiral Mike Mullen, and Thomas Friedman have read the current American imposed constitution of Afghanistan. Here are relevant sections from this document that speak to Mortenson’s project of building “secular” schools in Afghanistan: Chapter 1, article 1, “Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic, independent, unified, indivisible state; chapter 1, article 2, “the religion of the state of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam”; chapter 1, article 3, “in Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam”; chapter 2, article 2, “education is the right of all citizens of Afghanistan, which should be provided up to the level of B. A. (lisans) free of charge by the state”; chapter 2, article 24, “the state shall devise and implement a unified educational curriculum based on the provisions of the sacred religion of Islam, national culture, and in accordance with academic principles, and develop the curriculum of religious subjects on the basis of the Islamic sects existing in Afghanistan”. A bystander would say: By opening the secular school for Afghan girls, Admiral Mike Mullen and mountaineer Greg Mortensen are trampling the Afghan constitution. Never mind. The “warrior chief” gives and the “warrior chief” takes back.
Greg Mortenson is the founder and CEO of Central Asia Institute headquartered in Bozeman, Montana. Is his institute subsidized by funds from the American government? One of his pamphlets (An introduction to Central Asia Institute, p. 12) contains a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “We cannot shake hands with a clenched fist”. How much American military hardware and how many American soldiers were present at the opening of the “secular” school for girls in Panjshaer? Bagram airbase is about thirty miles from Panjshaer. When Mortenson’s secular school was being opened Afghanistan was occupied by more than one hundred thousand Euro-American soldiers.
Dr. M. Jamil Hanifi is currently an independent scholar whose long standing research interests focus on the anthropology and history of Afghanistan. He is himself an Afghan, born in Sorkhab, Logar Province. He obtained his Ph.D in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, in 1969. He earned his M.A. in Political Science, from Michigan State University, in 1962. He graduated with a B.Sc. in Social Science, from Michigan State University, in 1960. Dr. Hanifi is also fluent in Farsi/Dari, and Paxtu. He also has reading ability in Arabic, Russian, Tajiki (in Cyrillic), and Urdu. He teaches part time in anthropology at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College. He was formerly a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Northern Illinois University, from 1969 to 1982. Dr. Hanifi’s research has been partially supported by the United States National Academy of Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Institute for Afghanistan Studies, in the period from 1982 to 2006. He is also the author of the Historical and Cultural Dictionary of Afghanistan (1976) and numerous articles in journals and encyclopedias. You can read more about Dr. Hanifi here, here, and see his Anthropology of Afghanistan group page.